André Piette | Journalist
The cows have been milked. The kids are at school. After grabbing a quick bite, Martine stops by her office and goes through the invoices that came in the day before. Typical expenses for a dairy farm include cattle feed, repairs to a silo conveyor, etc.
Martine scans the invoices and reviews them on her computer. With a couple of mouse clicks, she sends the documents to a dedicated email inbox, where they're retrieved by her "web assistant" in a secure cloud-based environment.
Your virtual employee
The web assistant analyzes each invoice and returns the essential data to a production agent a few hours later for validation: supplier, products, amounts, taxes, etc. Once the data is validated and the accounting operations have been confirmed, the assistant sorts the invoices and organizes the data in preparation for the transfer to the business accounting system.
All Martine has to do to complete the process is import the data, which she does using SigaFinance. In the end, the process of sorting, validating and importing the data from the invoices only took a few minutes.
A multi-talented assistant
Not only does the web assistant completely simplify data entry, it also sorts all kinds of documents, from loan certificates to soil tests. Papers strewn around the office are a thing of the past. According to Patrice Carle, manager at CEGA, an agricultural business management resource centre, what producers will appreciate the most, however, is the tool's ability to manage indicators. Users can view graphics of all the income and expense accounts and build a customized dashboard to help them manage the business.
Another major advantage is the tool's ability to simplify everyday accounting. It provides real-time data and facts about the business, not just statements that are three or six months old. Carle says that farmers in 2016 want information in real time so they can react quickly.
Ten years ago, this kind of automated computing would have sounded like science-fiction. Today, however, this web assistant actually exists. It's called ALEOP and it was developed by CEGA. According to Carle, the tool really simplifies accounting. CEGA created it so that farmers could spend less time processing paperwork and more time managing their farms.
ALEOP was developed thanks to advanced technology in optical character recognition (the same image-to-text conversion process that allows us to deposit a cheque by taking a picture of it). No need to worry about information security; Carle explains that ALEOP uses the same kind of information protection measures that financial institutions use on their transactional websites.
Support at home
So, how do you get ALEOP for your farm business? A qualified professional will install the scanner and the software in your home and set up the accounting system for your farm by matching your chart of accounts with ALEOP's universal chart of accounts (the system adapts to your accounting system, not the other way around). Then they'll run you through how to use your new software and help you get to know your new assistant!
Tested for nine months by 22 businesses, ALEOP was officially launched in November 2016. Learn more at aleop.ca (French only) or on the Solution ALEOP Facebook page.